I had a chat with my girlfriend the other night about the metaphysical and some of the reasons why people may believe in ghosts. Now of course I do not believe in ghosts or anything of the sorts but I would say that the majority of my friends, if asked, would say that they believed in some kind of 'energy' or spirit, even if not in the commonly held understanding of ghosts.
Most people I know simply believe that there is 'something else' there, even if they have absolutely no evidence to suggest that there is.
I'm sure that all of you have at least one friend or family member and if not that then at least a friend of a friend that has seen a 'ghost'... We've all heard the stories but of course we don't just accept and believe what we're told. There is no evidence or proven accounts of ghosts, at the end of the day it's just believing in a different type of flying spaghetti monster.
However, the conversation I had did get me thinking. Have any of my atheist friends seen a 'ghost'? There are many scientific reasons that people may 'see' a ghost, a lot of the time it's when you're sleeping and think you're awake etc etc
So, has anyone here, seen a 'ghost'? And if you did, how did you reason with yourself that it was not real and could be explained scientifically?
I'm curious about the subject because I can imagine just how much such an occurrence of this nature can effect someone that is susceptible to believing that it actually is a ghost. It could be life altering and all that may have happened is some faulty wiring in your brain for a few seconds...
I have never seen a ghost.
One of the weirdest things I recall was a few years ago, I was riding my (powerful) motorcycle home and stopped at lights. Next to me was a distinctive character on a moped. The lights changed and I zoomed away. A mile or so later I approached another lights, and he was there already, waiting.
There are no shortcuts. He could not have got there before me.
My explanation is that until I saw him the next time, he wasn't interesting enough to pay attention to, and my brain took a slight similarity between the second mopedist and the first, tricking me into thinking that the first guy I saw looked the same as the second, after the fact.
What a brilliant example! These are the kind of stories we hear so often and the first explanation people offer is something out of the metaphysical.
When I was a believer, I can say that I saw a ghost. I don't believe that now, of course, but at one time I did. I definitely saw something, but I now realize how misled the human brain can be. As a matter of fact, I just watched a NOVA Science Now episode about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and how it, when used just so, can change the way people respond to a moral dilemma. There was another show I watched that was exploring near death experiences and how the brain responds to dying. They did some kind of simulation experiment and triggered the brain to "see" the same things people claim to experience when they are near death. Can't remember what show that was. Sorry.
Anyway, it is my opinion that once you realize just how capable your brain is of being fooled or your brain fooling you. Once you start looking at how we're fooled almost every day in one way or another, it's quite easy to explain it away.